When I was 16, I was so excited to apply for my first job. I knew exactly where I wanted to apply, and there was no plan B. Growing up in Winnipeg, and always dreaming of somewhere hot, I knew I wanted to work at the local swimwear boutique. I finessed my resume, wore my best outfit and walked into the store extremely nervous. The owner looked at me and said "sorry, we have many women with body issues come in here and I just don't think you're experienced enough to help them."
Little did she know, I was the queen of body issues. My most searched term on Google was "how to be skinny" and frequented pro-anorexia forums. There is actually a forum of girls who limit themselves to 300 calories a day and support each other after binge eating. I hid a bunch of 100 calorie packs of snacks in my room and refused to eat anything my parents offered. A day later, the entire kitchen was raided and my self esteem completely shot. I tried the South Beach Diet countless times, My Fitness Pal, and cannot remember a time when I was not "dieting." Looking back at high school photos, I was athletic and had a great shape.. so why was my mind so distorted?!
Fast forward to 10 years later, after struggling with fluctuating weight throughout college dorm life in Vancouver, I graduated, moved into my own place in Victoria and and finally got to a point where I was somewhat "normal" with my eating. I still thought "well if I was skinnier, I'd have a much nicer wardrobe" and "when I lose 10 pounds I'm going to wear a bikini so well."
I had some friends who had done a bikini body building competition and they looked incredible. I found a coach who told me I could look like that too with 4 months of hard work. I committed my life and my bank account to 4 months of white fish, asparagus and every spare minute at the gym to be that girl. What you didn't see on Instagram: I was absolutely miserable missing social events with my friends, crying because I was so hungry (but my selfies were on point!).
I booked a trip to Mexico for the day after the competition and could not wait to spend the rest of the money I had on all kinds of cute bikinis! I was a size zero, and had a 34DD bust so everything I bought would fit me.. right? Wrong. I now have a garbage bag full of bikinis that do not fit or support my bust, that I thought would look like what the perfect girls on Instagram wore, and they don't. The fact is, so many Instagram posts that we are constantly looking at are photoshopped with hours of getting the right angle and light. Why do we put so much importance on perfection? Who is it for? My only conclusion is that it comes from personal deep rooted insecurities and not enough emphasis on loving yourself NOW, as is.
Forever is composed of nows - Emily Dickinson
This business started not because I wanted to be an entrepreneur, or because I wanted name recognition (I'm pretty anonymous) or worse: money. Nude Swim Bar started because I made a commitment to myself and all of the women who come to me that I would create the best possible product to encourage self-love now. A swimwear line that you could be proud to walk down the beach in, and flaunt who you are. A line that you don't need to lose 10 pounds for. A line that doesn't make you want a breast reduction so you could finally fit the cute styles. A line that didn't cut into your skin to make even the most fit woman feel like she had to lose weight.
To all the women who have come to NSB, I love you so much! Thank you for relating to my experiences, and re-enforcing what I've poured my heart and soul into. You are all so beautiful inside and out!